Just 2 years removed from their expansion season the Expos rose out of the cellar for the first time more due to the ineptness of the Phillies than the improvement of their own team. In fact they won 2 less games than the previous season. Still the fans in Montreal were treated to competitive baseball for the first 2 months of the season with the Expos being at or near .500 during that stretch. As the temperature heated up the Expos cooled off and fell double digits behind the division leaders. Manager Gene Mauch got the most out of a squad that feature the worst pitching staff in the league. Montreal finished dead last in ERA and runs allowed. Mauch basically had two reliable arms to go to all season. Bill Stoneman (17-16, 3.15) logged nearly 300 innings (294.2), but was basically a .500 pitcher due to run support. Steve Renko (15-14, 3.75) chipped in 275 innings. After those two the rest of the staff was challenged at best. Newly found closer Mike Marshall (5-8, 4.28) had his moments, and was well on his way to becoming the best reliever in the league, but he was still learning his role in '71. The offense was led by Le Grand Orange, an unsung superstar who was beloved in Montreal. At 27, Rusty Staub was at the top of his game. He was a great fielder with a fantastic arm and a clutch RBI bat. How he moved from one expansion team to another boggles my mind. This is a guy who you would have expected to spend his full career in one uniform. He is about as close to a hall of famer as you can get without getting in. Besides Rusty's .311-19-97 line the rest of the lineup , as well as the bench, was mediocre at best. Boots Day patrolled center and hit .283, but his 4 homers were not enough to qualify him to hold down an OF spot. Newly acquired Ron Hunt played a solid second and hit a respectable .279. His OBP was an outstanding .402, mostly because he "managed" to gain base by being hit by a pitch an astounding 50 times. When all was said and done the Expose offense was sub par and powerless (11th in the league in HR's). With only 2 able bodied and reliable arms this team was destined for the second division. Still, they made it out of cellar and that was something to build on.
A total of 15 cards were produced to round out the set. All photos, except where noted, were supplied by Jeff D.